Mr. Olympia, the title awarded to the winner of the professional men's bodybuilding contest at Joe Weider's Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend, is the dream of every professional bodybuilder. Attaining such a prestigious title demands extraordinary commitment, discipline, and strategic techniques. While each Mr. Olympia winner has a unique approach, certain tactics appear across their training regimes. Here, we will delve into 10 secret methods used by Mr. Olympia winners to get big.
1. Progressive Overload
Progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress placed on the body during exercise training. It involves systematically increasing the weights, repetitions, or sets in a workout over time, forcing your body to adapt to a higher level of intensity and promoting muscle growth.
Periodisation involves organising training schedules into specific periods or cycles to optimise performance while minimising injury. It typically includes changes in volume, intensity, and exercise selection, balancing periods of intense training with lighter periods or 'deload weeks' for recovery.
3. High-Intensity Training (HIT)
Many Mr. Olympia winners, including Dorian Yates, swear by high-intensity training. HIT is a method that involves performing your workout with a high level of intensity for brief, infrequent sessions. It usually includes a single set per exercise, pushed to the point of total muscular failure.
4. Super Sets and Drop Sets
Super sets involve performing two exercises for opposing muscle groups back-to-back without resting, while drop sets require lifting to failure, then reducing weight and continuing until failure again. These techniques can enhance muscle hypertrophy and improve endurance.
5. Proper Nutrition and Supplementation
An excellent training routine can only be supplemented with a well-planned nutrition and supplementation strategy. Winners focus on a balanced, high-protein diet that fuels muscle growth and recovery. Additionally, they use supplements, including protein powders, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), creatine, and vitamins to enhance their nutritional intake.
6. Regular Recovery and Rest
Overtraining can lead to diminished results and injuries. Mr. Olympia champions understand the importance of rest days and recovery techniques like foam rolling, massages, and cold-water immersion. Sleep is also a non-negotiable aspect of their routine, given its critical role in muscle recovery and growth.
Consistency is key to gaining muscle mass and strength. Regardless of their schedules, Mr. Olympia winners ensure that they are consistently training, eating right, and resting, showing a commitment that extends beyond the gym and into every facet of their lives.
8. Mental Strength
Physical training is only part of the journey to becoming Mr. Olympia. Winners emphasise the importance of mental strength, using visualisation techniques, goal setting, and positive self-talk to maintain focus, drive, and resilience in the face of setbacks.
9. Posing and Flexing
Posing is an integral part of bodybuilding that enhances muscle control, symmetry, and presentation. Regularly flexing muscles can also contribute to muscle growth and definition. Many Mr. Olympia winners practice posing routines as part of their regular workout regimen.
10. Personalised Training
Every Mr. Olympia winner has a unique body structure, metabolism, and response to exercise. They work closely with coaches to design personalised training programs that cater to their individual needs, strengths, and weak points, leading to a comprehensive, tailored approach to bodybuilding.
While there are many routes to becoming Mr. Olympia, a combination of scientifically-proven training methods, proper nutrition, sufficient recovery, and a solid mental game appears to be a common denominator among champions.